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Best Picture Nominees For The 2017 Oscars, With A Little Help From Howie


The Oscars are right around the corner, and if you haven’t seen all of the Best Picture nominations, you are overdue for a movie marathon. KUNC film critic Howie Movshovitz has helped us narrow the list, by identifying a handful of gems -- and some that he felt could have been better.  

Here’s the list of Best Picture nominees that Howie reviewed. He didn’t get to all of them, but there’s a full list of nominees below. What’s your pick to win the Oscar this year?

Credit Paramount

Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Rynder and David Linde

“In Arrival, earthlings awaken one day to find a dozen very large, elliptical objects scattered at sites around the world – including China, Russia and, most important for us, rural Montana. They seem to come from another world; they’re really big, and they hover, point down, just a few feet above the surface of the Earth. The disconcerting sight of the huge yet delicate objects immediately puts you in a state of real unfamiliarity.”

Credit EPK.TV

Hidden Figures
Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi

“Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures has a wonderful story. In 1961, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, hired a number of African-American women mathematicians to do complicated calculations. This is pre-computer time. A bunch of these women, who were called computers, calculated things like rocket trajectories, questions of thrust and payload, and they did the math on major problems like why the Redstone rocket failed to attain orbit.”

Credit Lionsgate

La La Land
Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt

“With the exception of Cabaret, which is about the rise of the Nazis in Berlin, the new film La La Land may be the most doleful musical I’ve seen, and it doesn’t have the excuse of history’s greatest trauma. It’s a pleasant but lonely film that puts together two characters who don’t fit well. They’re unhappy people who have a romance of sorts.”

Credit Claire Foldger / Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions
Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions

Manchester By the Sea
Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh

“There’s been so much talk about the troubles of the white working class in America that Kenneth Lonergan’s new film Manchester By the Sea comes at just the right time. Whether it’s the right film is something else. In spite of people’s good intentions, it can be hard for filmmakers who have access to tens of millions of dollars for a project like this one to avoid condescension. Filmmakers who operate at that level usually can’t help imposing on an entire class of people the curse of a well-meaning outsider’s view of their lives.”

Credit EPK.TV

Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

“Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight takes place in the ghetto of Miami, and it never lets you forget that setting. There’s the young drug dealer on the street corner by the housing project, and the bigger, tougher older guy who handles him. There’s a crack-addicted mother and there are tough thugs at the school. But Moonlight isn’t quite about that side of ghetto life. It may be the first film about poor African-American characters since the astonishing Killer of Sheep to take a different direction from the standard-issue ghetto and gang violence. More than anything, Moonlight is about kindness, and it’s a marvel how much kindness director Barry Jenkins – who had a very tough childhood himself – finds in this world.”

Below are films Howie hasn’t reviewed. Previews and the list of nominees for the other awards are available online.

Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black

Hacksaw Ridge
Bill Mechanic and David Permut

Hell or High Water
Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn

Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder


As CRNC’s digital operations manager, I make sure KUNC and The Colorado Sound are as awesome online as they are on your radio. I oversee digital projects and platforms for both stations, including web, apps and smart speakers.
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